Welcome to Philadelphia and to the 36th Annual IAGSDC Convention.
I hope you have a wonderful time in my hometown. Philly is a very walkable city and there are many taxis, Uber, Lyft and SEPTA bus and rail service to help you get around, if you get too tired of walking. At Suburban Station, entrance at 17 and JFK, you can pick up a Septa key card. For PA, NJ and DE residents, if you are 65, you can get a card allowing free rides on all area bus and subway services. Regional rail is Free and travel out of PA is ½ price fare. If you are under 65, you have a few options for discounted fares. Otherwise, exact fare is needed. 2.50 for a single ride and 1.00 for a transfer, if needed. There are so many things the city has to offer: History, Culture, Food, (Every ethnic food from around the world can be had throughout the city), Shopping and Entertainment.
Our Hotel is located in the Logan Square Section of the city (although today the square is now a circle.) You may step outside and walk west and come onto the Ben Franklin Parkway. This area is also known as the Museum District. It includes many art museums, the Franklin Institute (Science Museum), The Natural History Museum and the Central Library of Philadelphia, the New Mormon Temple, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul are all located just off Logan Circle. Even the Schwann Fountain at the center of Logan Square is a work of art. At the end of The Parkway which runs from City Hall you will Find the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (The Japanese Tea Garden is a MUST SEE). You will also find the famous Rocky statue at the foot of the iconic Art Museum Steps. If you want to eat in Logan Square area, walk north on 18th street to Callowhill and turn left toward 19th St. You will find Sabrina’s where the service is friendly and the food is plentiful, an Indian place, Kite and Key (pub grub) and on the corner at 19th is fine dining at the Rose Tattoo (Delicious, limited menu, pricey, I go there for special occasions.) The following block is also a foody paradise. My go to is Mc Crossen’s Tavern on 529 N 20th Street. It has a limited menu, but good prices and delicious. It’s a great neighborhood restaurant.
This parkway was designed to be reminiscent of the Champs Elysee in Paris and the City Hall and homes in northern Logan Square and Fairmount neighborhood have French inspired architecture. Behind the Art Museum is the Schuylkill River and the beginning of the Fairmount Park System. This system is the largest city park in the Country.
City hall was built on Center Square, One of the five original green spaces in William Penn’s city plan. The four other squares are Logan Square; about a mile east is Franklin Square which is bordered by Chinatown and Old City; a mile south of that is Washington Square which borders Society Hill and the Gayborhood; a mile west of there is Rittenhouse Square, one of the most expensive residential area of the city. One mile north of that brings you back to Logan Square. The city is made up of neighborhoods and most have a public green space known as a Square.
If you head east on Race Street from the hotel to 12th street and walk 1 block south to Arch St you would come to The Reading Terminal Market. The Amish come Monday through Saturday to sell farm fresh produce, dairy and meats. There are many various food and other merchants and vendors there daily. There are communal eating areas, plus a diner and a pub. It is a great place to explore.
Continuing east on Arch St you come into Chinatown. The Chinese Gate is located at 10th Street. It is a beautiful piece of art and culture. I seem to recall a great grocery store on 11th Street on west side of street near Cherry St. Great prices on produce there. There are also many fine Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants around, including good vegetarian places. Look for restaurants with many locals patronizing for your best bet in food. After visiting Chinatown, continue east on Race to 6th street to find Franklin Square. There is a beautiful Carousel there. There may also be some Chinese lanterns remaining from the festival. At this point you may head south on 6th Street in direction of traffic flow and come into Olde City.
Olde City runs from 7th and Vine Streets east to the Delaware River and south to Walnut Street. This area includes Independence Hall, (get free admission ticket at Visitor center at 6th and Market), Liberty Bell, Constitution Center, Ben Franklin Print shop and next door is first Post Office in Phila, where many brides or grooms still go and get their wedding invitations hand stamped, Elfreth Alley (Oldest continuously inhabited street from British Colonial Times), Betsy Ross House, African American Museum, Jewish American Museum, the new Museum of American Revolution, Penn’s Landing – on the Delaware, now a beautiful park area with Seafarer’s museum and many Festivals throughout the year, The Chart House Restaurant and Moshulu, ( Pricey but Delicious) PLUS a whole lot more.
Society Hill runs south of Walnut to South Street and back up to 7th Street. This area has the 1st and Oldest Catholic Church in the English-Speaking colonies of America (It also happens to be my Parish), Oldest Jewish synagogue in Phila., and other first churches. William Penn, being a Quaker, invited and welcomed all faiths to practice in this city. The Olde City Tavern at 2nd and Walnut is Colonial hospitality and delicious food at its best. Society Hill also contains many single-family residences, Antique Row on Pine Street and Jewelers Row on Sansom St as you head into Washington Square District.
South of Society Hill you come into Queen’s Village – The original Swede settlement. The Olde Swede’s Church (Gloria Dei) is currently an Episcopal Church. It is the First church in the city to display a Cross on the Spire.
Just to the West of Society Hill you would find Washington Square. It is located at 7th and Walnut St. Continuing west you would come into the Gayborhood from 11th to Broad St and Chestnut to Pine St. Lots of restaurants bars and quaint streets and homes to admire.
If you continue a few blocks south of South Street on 9th Street you will come to Christian Street and the heart of Little Italy and the Italian Market, which now includes a more international flavor thanks to Vietnamese, and Hispanic merchants who’ve added more variety to the market.
Continuing west from 13th and Locust you would come to Broad St- This area is the Avenue of The Arts – Kimmel Center where the Philly Pops and Orchestra perform along with local art groups including PHILADANCO an absolutely fabulous dance company. Academy of Music and other theater venues are here. This area also has many Fine Dining establishments. Continuing our journey west we come to Rittenhouse Square located at 18th and Walnut St. A beautiful place to rest and people watch.
To come back to Philadelphia 201 just walk north through the Center City Business District.
PA does not have sales tax on clothing. So, you may want to check out the many stores on Chestnut and Walnut Streets. Macy’s formerly Wanamaker’s always has great sales. You must visit the eagle at the grand court and catch Peter Conte playing the beautiful organ.
Tours of Philadelphia City Hall – 12:30 Mon – Fri $15.25 includes Tower. Tower only is $8.25 - 9:30-4:15